If you want to include strength training in your workout routine, a weight bench is a must. It’s one of the most versatile fitness equipment to go with your barbell or dumbbells.
Using a weight bench with a leg curler or adjustable incline even lets you perform several exercises. But to reap the benefits of lifting weights, you must first know how to use a weight bench properly.
Make sure to keep these tips in mind.
1. Match the Incline with Your Exercise
Experimenting with the angles of your adjustable weight bench helps you target specific muscle groups.
For instance, inclining the bench lets you work on your upper chest muscles. Declining it to a few degrees, on the other hand, allows the muscle activation of your lower chest.
But matching the weight bench angle with the exercise is not all about targeting the right muscle groups. It also ensures optimum results and your safety.
You see, when changing its settings, you are also locking the bench into place to avoid accidents mid-workout.
Here are some examples of how this tip works. If you’re using a weight bench to do a dumbbell pullover, setting it in a flat position gives you the optimum range of motion.
Doing seated dumbbell hammer curls, on the other hand, means you need to adjust the weight bench angle for back support and safe heavier weight lifting.
Finally, declining the bench for sit-ups makes your upper body lower than your hips and thighs. With your feet hooked onto the leg curlers, you get to work your body against gravity without hurting your back.
2. Adjust the Seat for Comfort
Weight lifting is hard. But it’s even harder when you’re not comfortable doing it.
So, make sure to adjust the bench seat as well. Aside from comfort, fixing it to the correct position should help keep you in proper exercise form to maximise results and avoid injury.
Most adjustable weight benches have this feature. And like the incline settings, the seat has safety pins to ensure stability and safety.
3. Choose Your Weights Wisely
Using a weight bench for strength training ensures that you get the ample support you need for every exercise. However, it won’t work if you are working out with the wrong type of weights.
It will only lead to an ineffective workout or serious bodily harm. So, make sure to lift smarter by choosing weights the right way.
But how do you do that exactly?
For starters, you need to choose between a pair of dumbbells and a barbell. Dumbbells are perfect if you want to target your smaller muscle fibres.
But if you wish to lift more weights and ensure a balanced arm workout, go for a barbell. The load you should work out with is also dependent on your routine.
Exercises with several repetitions, like curls, for instance, suit lighter weights. Bench press, on the other hand, calls for heavy loads.
The most important factors affecting your weight choice would have to be your fitness level and goals. Make sure to choose a lower weight if you have not worked out in a while or are recovering from an injury.
Also, lighter weights are best if you’re aiming for toned muscles. But for bulking up, lifting heavier weights with fewer reps is the way to go.
4. Know the Four Crucial Body Points
When using a weight bench, your head, shoulders, and hips should stay in contact with its surface. Of course, some weight bench movements are exceptions to this rule.
But, in general, always follow this tip when applicable. If you avoid lifting your head or shoulders during weight training, your neck and back will stay pain-free.
More importantly, keeping these points in contact with the adjustable bench allows your lower back to create a natural arch. This form is crucial in engaging your abdominal muscles in the exercise.
The fourth contact point is your feet. Make sure to keep them firmly planted on the floor or bench, whichever is more comfortable, to avoid losing your balance, especially when lifting heavier weights.
If you’re a beginner, it’s best to do exercises that keep your feet flat on the ground to prevent accidents.
5. Observe the Proper Exercise Form
Whether it’s aerobics or using a weight bench, observing the proper form is key to optimising any workout and protecting your body.
But how will you know if you are lifting weights the right way? These scenarios might help.
You bruise your chest area after your workout.
This issue may happen when you incorrectly lower the bar during your bench press exercise. If you load the bar with so much weight, you tend to drop or bounce it off your chest, causing bruises.
Avoid this by choosing the right amount of load and letting the bar hover on your chest for a second before pushing it up.
Your shoulder joint and rotator cuff feel sore.
You might be lifting weights with your elbows too wide or too close to your body. Make sure to keep them at the proper angle, between 45 to 75 degrees.
This way, you get to activate your chest muscles while avoiding injury.
You feel unstable when performing challenging moves.
Proper breathing techniques should go hand in hand with your exercise form. Ample oxygen flow ensures optimum muscle activation, which, in turn, improves your stability and performance.
To do this, make sure to breathe in as you lower the bar and breathe out as you lift it back up.
An adjustable weight bench is undoubtedly indispensable when you want to tone or build your muscles safely. Are you now wondering whether you need this equipment at home?
Perhaps, these reasons for investing in one can help you decide!